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The City on the Edge of Forever 

When a temporarily insane Dr. McCoy accidentally changes history and destroys his time, Kirk and Spock follow him to prevent the disaster, but the price to do so is high.


Joseph Pevney


Harlan Ellison, Gene Roddenberry (created by)




Episode complete credited cast:
William Shatner ... Capt. Kirk
Leonard Nimoy ... Mr. Spock
Joan Collins ... Edith Keeler
DeForest Kelley ... Dr. McCoy
James Doohan ... Scott
George Takei ... Sulu
Nichelle Nichols ... Uhura
John Harmon ... Rodent
Hal Baylor ... Policeman
David L. Ross ... Galloway
John Winston John Winston ... Transporter Chief
Bart La Rue Bart La Rue ... Guardian (voice) (as Bartell La Rue)


When an accident causes Dr. McCoy to go temporarily insane, he escapes to a strange planet. There, the search party discovers a device left by a superior, vanished civilization, a time portal that plays the history of Earth for them - but then Bones jumps through it into the past, causing a change in history important enough to make the Enterprise vanish. Kirk and Spock, who fortunately made a tricorder recording, must attempt to go through to just before McCoy's arrival and stop him from changing history in the United States during the Great Depression, where they have no advanced technology available. Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


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Did You Know?


The title of this episode refers to both the dead city on the time planet and New York itself, where the timeline will either be restored or disrupted. In Harlan Ellison's original script, Kirk, upon first seeing the city sparkling like a jewel on a high mountaintop, reverently says it looks like "a city on the edge of forever". In Ellison's first treatment for this episode, the city they travelled back in time to was Chicago. See more »


When Kirk walks Edith home he tells her about a novel that will be written by someone from another planet, circling the far left star in Orion's Belt constellation which he points to. However, when the shot changes to the sky, it is overcast at dusk and no stars can be seen. See more »


Spock: Captain, I must have some platinum. A small block would be sufficient, five or six pounds. By passing certain circuits through there to be used as a duo-dynetic field core...
Capt. Kirk: [interrupting] Uh, Mr. Spock, I've brought you some assorted vegetables, baloney and a hard roll for myself, and I've spent the other nine tenths of our combined salaries for the last three days on filling this order for you. Mr. Spock, this bag does not contain platinum, silver or gold, nor is it likely to in the near ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

The closing credits are set against a combination background of stills from that episode and previous episodes. See more »

Alternate Versions

More recent prints omit the shot in which Rodent accidentally vaporizes himself with McCoy's phaser. Instead, the scene ends with him standing in the alley near the collapsed McCoy and looking bewildered. See more »


Theme From Star Trek
Written by Alexander Courage
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User Reviews

The Perfect Confluence
7 July 2006 | by chrstphrtullySee all my reviews

"City on the Edge of Forever" is usually considered one of the best (if not the best) of the series. The praise is well-deserved.

During a meteor storm, McCoy accidentally injects himself with an overdose of cordrazine, which leads him to paranoid insanity. He beams himself down to the planet being orbited by the Enterprise, escapes through a time portal, resulting in the obliteration of the Enterprise's world. Kirk and Spock go back through the portal to try and intercept McCoy (who has interfered with the past), and land in the New York City of the 1930s. They are taken in by Edith Keeler (Joan Collins), a pacifistic social worker, and Kirk begins to fall in love.

As the summary indicates, this episode is the perfect confluence of superb science fiction writing (Harlan Ellison), well-honed directing (Joseph Pevney), and sensitive acting (Shatner and Nimoy in particular). The script is incredibly well-written by one of the best science fiction writers of all time, and uses modest humor (e.g., Spock's clueless insistence on securing platinum, Kirk's explanation of Spock's ears to a policeman, etc.) to keep the story from becoming overly maudlin. For those who believe that William Shatner could not act (i.e., those who had never seen him in his early TV days), his nuanced and sympathetic performance clearly shows how good of an actor he could be. Likewise, Joan Collins acquits herself quite well, and Nimoy is, as always, marvelous. Spock's final line in the 1930s world alone is worth the viewing.

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Greek | English

Release Date:

6 April 1967 (USA) See more »

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Sound Mix:

Mono | Dolby Digital (re-mastered version)| DTS (re-mastered version)


Color | Black and White (flashbacks)| Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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